Chapter 9

As I entered the building, I heard a familiar greeting. “Children’s Aid Society. How may I direct your call? One moment, please.” Ah yes, the automated receptionist. She raised her eyebrows as she looked up from her desk.

“Heather Williams to see Kathy Stammus.” She nodded and cocked her head toward the row of chairs. I took a seat and pulled out a few pamphlets: Children and Self-Esteem, Separation and Divorce, Healing the Damage of Abuse. I opened the first pamphlet, but didn’t get past the front page when a young woman approached.

“Ms. Williams?”

“Yes. You must be Kathy.” I stood. “Call me Heather.”

Kathy smiled. “Hi, Heather,” she gave my hand a firm shake. She then extended her hand in the direction of a corner office. “Please come with me. You’ll find this building somewhat confusing with all the hallways. We’ll meet in there.” I followed her in and shut the door behind me.

“Please, have a seat.” She gestured to the round table in the centre of the room.

Kathy wore a plaid skirt with a cream colored blouse and sensible shoes. Her brown eyes contrasted nicely with her blonde, curling hair, brushed back behind her ears. She placed the file she was carrying on the table in front of us and took the seat right beside me.

“I understand that you’ve seen a doctor and been to the hospital?” She patted the thick file.

“Yes. But it wasn’t for me. It was for my daughter.” I wasn’t sure how much she already knew.

“Yes, Caitlin, right?”

I was impressed. I updated her on what had happened since I’d come in to see the intake worker.
“It seems like you have things well under control.”

Yes, it may seem that way but I haven’t a clue what I’m doing. “Truthfully, I’m just following orders.” I gave her a weak smile.

“I know this isn’t easy, Heather. But you’re doing the right thing. Unfortunately, a parent is the abuser in 40% of child sexual abuse cases. You’ve done the right thing in believing your daughter. In most circumstances, children don’t lie about abuse. But many mothers can’t advocate on behalf of their children half as well as you have.”

I could only nod in agreement. If I spoke, my voice might crack and give away the fake impression that I had it all together.

“As you know,” Kathy said, “we’re here to ensure that the best interest of the child is served. Since the incident has been reported we’ve been conducting our own investigation into the allegations. Although there is no physical evidence, we here at the Society plan to order supervision for a period of one year. At the end of that time, the situation will be reviewed.”

“So Rod will still have visits with Caitlin?”

“Yes, but we are recommending that they’ll not be overnight visits and they’ll be supervised.”

“By whom?”

“We understand that Rod’s half-sister, Deana, lives in the area. She’s willing to supervise.”

“Deana?” My stomach did a leap. My ex-sister-in-law and I never had seen eye to eye.

“Do you have a problem with her?” Kathy asked earnestly.

I couldn’t think of whom else would be available. Rod’s parents still lived in Germany. My parents couldn’t stand to even say Rod’s name, let alone spend an entire day with him. Janice lived too far away. All Rod’s co-workers were too young to handle such a responsibility. “Does it have to be someone we know?”

“Ideally, we feel it would be in Caitlin’s best interest if it were a family member conducting the supervision. Do you have a lawyer yet?”

“Yes. Ms. Turner.”

“I’ll fax our copy of the Plan of Care to your lawyer to take to Family Court.”

I was surprised. “We still need to go to court?”

“Yes, your lawyer can explain it to you in detail, but generally each party puts forward a Plan of Care and Settlement Offer. The judge then makes a decision based on the Society’s Plan of Care, as well as that of the mother’s and the father’s offers.”

I wished that I had brought someone with me to take notes. “Is there anything else?”

“Yes, I will need to visit your home.”

The hair on my neck rose. “What for?”

“It’s just standard procedure. Again, we want to ensure that the child is cared for.”

“Of course. I suppose I’ll have to dust now.” My feeble attempt at a joke made Kathy smile.

“Please don’t on my account.” She leaned in and added, “You should see the dust bunnies under my couch. If I don’t get rid of them soon, they’ll take over my living room.”

I laughed, appreciative of Kathy’s down-to-earth humor. We booked Tuesday, September 17 for a visit and she led me back through the maze to the front doors.

I started to feel better about this white building. These people were on my side. They had my daughter’s best interests in mind.

I looked at my watch and realized that I had to hurry home and get ready for work. All these extra appointments really had me running.


I arrived at the dental clinic a little out of breath, threw my coat on the rack, and rushed behind the reception desk to answer the phone, “Good afternoon. Lakeside Dental Clinic. Heather speaking.” I cancelled Ms. Peter’s appointment and rescheduled her into next week.

Connie caught me off guard, “Does Rod know that you know?” As my co-worker, she liked to keep on top of everyone’s life at the clinic. A frantic feeling spread through me like a cup of cold water on an empty stomach.

“What?” I stalled for time.

Connie lowered her chin and looked over her reading glasses. She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head, clearly not willing to repeat the question. “I was talking to your mother and she told me everything.”

“Seriously! I can’t believe Mom told you that.” Pretending to be busy inputting client information into the computer I gave in, “He seemed unusually nervous the last weekend when he brought Caitlin home from their regular visit. He wouldn’t meet my eyes. I didn’t think much of his behavior at the time. Now I wonder.”

I didn’t like to talk with Connie about my personal life, but she had a way of asking questions I couldn’t avoid. I wished that a patient had turned on the television in the waiting area. Where was that remote?

“Is Caitlin supposed to see him this weekend?” She didn’t wait for a response but continued, “You could just say, ‘No, you cannot take my precious daughter, you monster. No, I will not let you even come close to hurting her again.’” Connie didn’t even try to hide her hatred towards my ex.

I thought about what she said. “But could I do this? What if he demanded to see her? No charges have been laid. He still has visitation rights with her.”

“So! If I were you I wouldn’t let him. Why don’t you take her away? You could go to your sister’s place. He can’t order you to let him visit Caitlin, can he?”

Sometimes I just hated Connie’s questions. “I guess I could run to Janice. I’m sure she’d let us stay there.” She’s always had an open door.

“But then if he tracked you down, he could take Caitlin and have you thrown in jail for kidnapping.”

“Thanks, Connie,” I said, my words dripping with sarcasm. But what if she was right? What if he got full custody? What if I couldn’t see my daughter anymore? The room spun. Get a hold of yourself, Heather.